As yet another triple header comes to a close with the upcoming Italian grand prix at Monza, Formula 1's 2021 season is giving us one of the most thrilling title battles in years.
Over the past year, u">>Sir Lewis Hamilton has equalled and broken records to cement his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time – as well as making steps to address racial inequality within the sport via the u">>Hamilton Commission and, more recently, the u">>Mission 44 foundation.
But Lewis' quest to break another record and claim an eighth world drivers' title won't be straightforward, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen challenging every step of the way. After his home win at the Dutch grand prix, Max tops the drivers' standings once again – but the title race is still too close to call, with form and luck playing their part in both drivers' and teams' fortunes just when you think it's starting to become clear.Joe Portlock - Formula 1Getty Images
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The F1 2022 driver market is also gathering pace, with news that Kimi Raikkonen will retire from the sport at the end of the season creating a vacancy at Alfa Romeo. He'll be replaced in 2022 by Valtteri Bottas, who moves after five seasons at Mercedes.
And the worst-kept secret in Formula 1 for quite some time is finally out – after getting a taste of the Mercedes car late last year, George Russell will join the team full-time in 2022. In a lengthy u">>Instagram post, George described his three seasons with Williams as "an honour" and reaffirmed his commitment to them through to the end of the year.Peter FoxGetty Images
"I've loved every moment in what I'd describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I'll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way," he wrote.
George added that he feels "excited and humbled" to move to his new team, and praised Valtteri's "high bar" and track record at Mercedes over the past 5 years. He also shared his excitement at working alongside Lewis, who he's looked up to "since go karts" and said that "in my opinion, [he's] the greatest driver of all time".
"The opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being," George added.
But that's not all for the Formula 1 lineup changes – George's good friend Alex Albon, currently Red Bull's reserve driver, will make a return to the grid with Williams next year. After a challenging 2020 season at Red Bull, Alex has been credited repeatedly by team boss Christian Horner for his development and sim work in this tight title battle, while keeping his racing skills sharp in DTM.This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
"I can’t tell you how good it feels to say... I'm joining @williamsracing for 2022!!" Alex wrote, thanking his soon-to-be boss Jost Capito and the Red Bull leadership, as well as his family, friends and fans.
"It is an absolute honour to be joining a team with a rich and legendary history and it's been very impressive to see how the team has progressed at such a fast pace," he added.
Alpha Tauri's now confirmed that Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will stay for 2022 – but is Antonio Giovinazzi's seat safe for another year? Could new Formula E champion Nyck de Vries make the move over to F1? Or might there be an opportunity for one of the Alpine Academy's two title hopefuls, Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri?
Here's how you can keep on top of all the action.